Regency,  Research

Nunquam ubi sub ubi

With the deepest of apologies to Mr. St. James, today I want to talk about…unmentionables. However, as Mr. St. James probably knows, in his time there were none. Right. Another rude shock of 21st centurly life. Because–and I’m sure Mr. St. James has no idea of this, he is such a very polite gentleman–for a long time it was thought nice girls did not wear underwear; putting something on that divided the legs was a big no-no (like riding astride). But not so nice girls might for the frisson it would give their paying customers.
It always makes me hoot with laughter in a regency or regency-set when the hero removes the heroine’s non-existent undies. Particularly if he has to untie them. Good lord. The only thing he might encounter, and this would be fairly late, in the late teens I believe, would be pantelettes, when hemlines hovered at high ankle level (control yourself, sir), and gentlemen might not be terribly gentlemanly about the fact that a woman’s legs were available. And the funny thing is that pantelettes look, well, sort of rude to our eyes. Here’s a fairly polite sketch thereof from a pattern at Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion,

Now, I remember Elena’s readers have told her that women in regencies didn’t have sex, and doubtless that particular critic believes her heroines should be wearing (metaphorically at the very least) scary pants a la Bridget Jones. Far from it. Women had very little between themselves, the fresh air, and the fresh hero.

No wonder we love this period.

And here is the ultimate costume site with fabulous links:

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Cara King
17 years ago

But did they ever feel a breeze…?
I should think they’d be cold! 🙂


Megan Frampton
17 years ago

Great information, Janet! And yeah, wasn’t it cold? And speaking of loving the period–um, what about that time? Messy, I’d think.

17 years ago

Yes, you do feel a breeze and if one is heavier and the weather is warm, there can be the issue of chafing. As for that, er, period, of the month, there was a diaper-like arrangement.

Gotta love that sexy period underwear. 🙂

Laurie Bishop
17 years ago

I positively could not stand feeling the breeze! And to think that some time later, pantaloons were considered “fast.” Go figure. I saw a period cartoon of gentlemen leering at a lady who had an fall in the road resulting in her…un…derriere being exposed. Well, she was properly dressed, after all!

(give me the “scary pants”)

Cara King
17 years ago

Ah, Caro, good to know! I have one Regency dress which I wear, but I’ve never had to nerve to wear “proper” Regency undergarments under it! 🙂
I appreciate your expertise!


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